The Star-Herald

Enterprise, officer promotions, marijuana discussed at February council meeting

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle City Council came in ready to hear the community’s thoughts on marijuana during its Feb. 2 meeting at the Sargent Community Center.

Presque Isle passed its marijuana ordinance in 2020, allowing for the sale of adult use and medical marijuana. Since the ordinance passed, Presque Isle has seen the opening of four medical shops, two adult use and one cultivation facility. The ordinance provides details about rules that all marijuana facilities must follow in order to operate. 

All facilities in the city have complied with the ordinance to date. While the city cannot prohibit the openings of more medical facilities due to state law, it does have the capability to limit recreational businesses.

The council opened up the floor to a public comment period to hear community concerns about the Star City’s marijuana ordinance that is in effect. 

Presque Isle resident Mike Thibodeau said he sees many positive changes coming throughout the Star City, but believes that the proliferation of marijuana in the community is setting a negative trend.

Thibodeau posed a possible amendment to the ordinance that would put a limit on how many recreational marijuana shops would be allowed in the city. That number could also be lowered, should a current business close down.

The second and final speaker on the issue was Presque Isle resident Meg Hegamin, who emphasized the importance of protecting underage people from getting their hands on marijuana.

“All these things in the ordinance do make a difference when it comes to keeping marijuana out of the hands of underage children,” Hegamin said.

Hegamin proposed three additions to the ordinance that she believes will better protect the community. First, businesses should advertise the federal consequences of marijuana use. Second, they should list possible side effects at purchase, similar to what pharmacies do with prescribed medications. Third, limit the sale of high THC products (40-80 percent THC).

After the presentations, City Council Chairperson Kevin Freeman thanked the public for their participation, and recommended that interested parties contact Galen Weibley to form a committee on the subject. He also encouraged councilors to oversee this committee should it be created.

The Presque Isle Police Department held a brief badge pinning ceremony to celebrate the promotions of five of their officers. Dale Keegan, Ricky Pelletier, Eric Depner and Steven St. Peter were promoted to the rank of corporal. Officer Chris Evans was promoted to Deputy Chief. All were met by a round of applause.

Josh Rondeau of Enterprise gave a presentation to the council about leasing out a fleet of vehicles from the company. The city would pay a fee that would give them access to a fleet of leased vehicles that they could eventually buy back from the company should they wish to do so. Enterprise would cover most repair and general maintenance costs for the vehicles. 

The council voted on whether to adopt this new car fleet strategy. In the end, it was a split 4-3 vote, prompting the council to table the vote until the next meeting in March.

The council approved liquor license renewals for Irish Setter Pub, Presque Isle Country Club and Mainely Mexican.

Presque Isle’s student intern Jacob Bradley shared his thoughts on working for the city. Bradley informed the council that his time working for the city has been positive, and that he has learned while working in various departments with city officials. 

Executive Director of the Presque Isle Community Development Association Kim Smith gave a brief report on the County Snow Fest event from the Jan. 29 weekend. While the storm had dampened attendance at some events and forced others to be canceled or postponed, it was overall viewed as a success. The city plans to hold the Snow Fest again next year.

The council then entered executive session to discuss economic development, and adjourned shortly after. The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, in the Sargent Community Center.

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